Minnesota Update: Franken by 48
With nearly all of the challenged ballots tallied, Democratic-Farmer-Labor challenger Al Franken holds a 48-vote lead over Sen. Norm Coleman in the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, reports the Star Tribune. That figure is consistent with the Franken campaign’s prediction of a 35- to 50-vote lead.
Of course, it’s nearly inconceivable that this lead will hold. Two factors could easily shift the balance: the Coleman campaign’s allegation of duplicate ballots, and the Franken campaign’s court-backed push to count around 1,500 improperly rejected absentee ballots.
As I argued earlier today, if Coleman is successful in excluding the alleged duplicate votes, he is likely to end up with a slim lead (around 26 votes, by my calculation). But that’s a big “if” — and it would probably be more than offset if all of the absentee ballots in question are counted, as Franken is expected to gain around 100 votes from this process.
Tomorrow is the big day when the canvassing board is expected to complete its review of the challenged ballots and the Minnesota Supreme Court is set to rule on the duplicates. Stay tuned.